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How to raise $25,000 in 25 minutes

Step 1) Drink wine.

Step 2) Think about how you can best pull on the heart strings of your audience.  Think about showing them pictures of children in need in Africa, think of how you can best describe how terrible things are for people in developing countries, and think of how you can really hit home and make someone feel a bit guilty for having all they have, while others have far less.

Step 3) Slap yourself across the face for considering using people’s negative emotions to motivate them to give.  Take everything you came up with in step 2, and throw that shit out the window.  That is the OLD way of charity.  It is the way that will raise the minimum amount possible, and that is the way that people and organizations have been doing things for DECADES.  It is not only played out, but it is downright annoying.

Step 4) Invoke POSITIVE emotions in people.  Invite them to use their creative, energetic, inspiring, and outstanding minds to create something far bigger than themselves.  Simply open the door for creativity to flow, and for people to think outside the box.  People here in the west already know that they have it good, they know they have more, and you know what… they want to do their part.  It is just a matter of equipping them with the tools to do it.  And that is what I was fortunate enough to be able to do in the “Turn $1000 into $5000 for Charity” challenge.

I was enjoying some wine one night with a friend of mine’s parents, in Comox BC, when we started talking about crowd sourcing.  We had previously been talking about charity projects, and a few sips later, BANG, the two came together.  After another bottle of wine and a few sips of tequila, I went downstairs and threw up a blog post to crowd source for ideas on how to turn $1000 into $5000 for charity.   The post took maybe 25 minutes, and the feedback was incredible.

Ideas poured in from 4 different countries, and ranged from collecting pennies, to donating sperm.  In the end, there were 5 ideas that won out, and will now be raising a minimum of $5000 each over the next few months.  What was my input to the whole thing???…. a 25 minute blog post, some money that was going to go to charity anyways, and equipping ordinary people with the excuse to think of extraordinary things.

Our heart strings have been getting tugged on for far too long, and though it successfully gets people to donate $40 here and there to sponsor a child (who might get half of that money if they are lucky), the REAL money, and excitement, and future, is in empowering people here in the west to do what is already in their hearts.  To simply give them a glimpse of what is possible, and then trust them to do the rest.

I personally had no idea this little challenge would raise $25,000, and that is part of the beauty of it.  It is such a beautiful example of how easy it is to make a difference.  For me, all it took was a few bottles of wine to get the juices flowing, and a blog post that went way further than I thought it would.

Cheers to how amazing the human brain is when it is given a challenge.  Harnessing those creative juices and channeling them toward bettering other people’s lives, in my opinion, is the beginning of the end of world poverty.

Now… it is time for a nice glass of red, and more ideas.

PS. Here is a pretty incredible example of someone doing something outstanding for the love of empowering others.  This guy, Paul Caridad, is one of my new heroes.  Check this video out, and try not to be inspired.

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WINNERS for the turn $1000 into $5000 contest!

Ecuador Classroom

WOW there were a ton of AMAZING ideas for this challenge!

Submissions ranged from collecting pennies, to putting on garage sales, to donating sperm…. seriously.  Ideas came in from 4 continents, and proposed plans that would benefit Cancer Societies, homeless funds, food banks, women empowerment, and health in Africa.  I was blown away by the thought that was put into this and am SO excited to see how the winners do!

The choices were difficult… very difficult… so instead of choosing the BEST, or BIGGEST idea… I decided to choose 5!

They are all terrific in their own way, and will get a lot of people involved.

In no particular order, here are the people/groups that will be receiving $1000 and will be turning it into $5000 for a charity of their choice:

1) The Fading Ladies

This is a group of ex-patriot women living in India, and making a huge difference.  They will be buying t-shirts, then decorating them, and re-selling them for a great charitable profit.  They are calling it TheTayCon project, and are AMPED to get going.  Check out their entry video here.

2) The ever fit and fantastic Kyla Gagnon

Kyla is a great friend of mine, and brought together HUGE resources for her idea.  She is a professional fitness trainer and runs boot camps, personal training, and has competed in high level fitness competitions.  She will be leveraging all of her contacts in the fitness world to put on a HUGE event that will take place in Victoria.  She already has local radio stations committed to helping the cause, and will no doubt get people out in DROVES to have fun, get fit, and do a ton of good.  Keep an eye on Ky’s FB page for more

3) Marathon Meghan 🙂

Meghan came up with an incredible idea that she calls “The Marathon of Giving”.  Meghan is an avid runner, so will be tying a running theme into her efforts by enrolling people to give a small amount of money, every day, for 42 days straight (there are 42 Km in a marathon).  She will be enrolling other runners and supporters to donate $4.20 a day for 42 days.  What a great idea hey?!?!  Guess how many people she needs to commit to donating $4.20 a day to ensure she hits $5000…. 100 people?…. 200 people? …. NOPE!…. only 28!  Now that is the power of getting others involved.  Her $5000 will be going to empowering women in Africa.  VERY inspirational Meghan… put me down for taking part and donating $4.20 a day.  I can skip one latte a day for a few weeks, and I bet a few people reading this could too.  If you could leave the lattes for 42 days and do something huge for women in Africa, contact Meghan here.

4) Gord says it’s concert time!!!!

Gord S came up with a very killer and comprehensive plan to put on a concert in Victoria with Andrew Allan headlining!  Andrew is an UNREAL entertainer.  Gord has hosted a party with him performing once already, and the people want more!  Gord will be incorporating selling wrist bands, and will be leveraging social media and a number of other contacts he has.  This will be a blast to take part in.  We will have a site up with all of the concert info soon.  Nice job Gord.

5) A day for Africa

This was a LAST minute entry that just had to get the cash.  Billy, from Comox, put together the idea to hook me up with a few guys that want to put on a day of massive contribution, in Quebec!  The guys will be organizing nearly 200 volunteers that will go out in various communities offering their manual labor services in return for donations.  This model has already proven successful in other cities, so we are really looking forward to watching them blow the lid off of the $5000 goal.  For more info, check out this site.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to every one who submitted entries, and to anyone who even thought for a second about how they could contribute in their own unique way.

At the end of the day, turning $1000 into $5000 is great, but what this whole thing was about was getting our creative juices flowing in service of the greater whole.  We think so much about ourselves, our needs, and us us us.  I feel confident that if we realized, for a moment, how incredibly wealthy we are in the grand scheme of things, that we would turn our attention to others and share the abundance of this world with those that don’t have it.

Whether you donate even a cent, it doesn’t matter to me.  All that matters is that your brain thought for a moment about how much you, one single person, could do for others.  It is my deep belief that when one has contemplated the difference he or she can make… that one will ensure to make that difference.

Much love from Costa Rica!!!!  Pura Vida 🙂


PS I am JUST about to change over to a blog/site I have been working on for the last year, and will be dropping this one.  Let’s hook up on Twitter to keep connected.  The next contest will be giving away fully paid trips to Kenya… 25 of them!!!!

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One good idea + giving = TRAVELING!!!

Ok, here is the quick and dirty…. no money needed, just your ideas

I would LOVE to do 2 things with this little idea-fest:

1) turn $1000 into $5000 (or more??) for charity

2) send you on a sick trip to somewhere you have always wanted to go

The deets:

If you come up with the best idea for how to turn 1K into 5K, for charity, you get airfare, paid by me, anywhere in North America or Central America.

You can go wherever you want, you can hit a beach in Mexico, pop over to NYC , kill your liver in Vegas, go see a Houston Rockets game, check out the Panama Canal, come see me in Costa Rica for some surfing and yoga, enjoy some night life in New Orleans, make fun of Newfies in Newfoundland, smoke some cigars in Nicaragua, ride some trollies in San Francisco, or go eat frogs legs in Montreal… it don’t matter to me!  All I care about is turning a bit of cash into a bit more cash for charity, and having some fun in the process 🙂

Here are some sample ideas to get the juices flowin:

-buy a bunch of t-shirts for cheap, get em printed with something catchy, and sell em for more (200 shirts bought at $5 and sold at $25 equals $5000)

-put on a pub crawl or two: rent a bus, get free access through “the dude you know” at the clubs, sell shots during the event, and have a wet t-shirt contest that the pervy guys watching have to pay to watch… in other words, create HUGE value for your pub crawlers, then charge everyone $50 a head and do it till you make $5000

-facebook the crap out of everyone you know, asking for donations and put on a party for everyone who donates ($1000 buys a lot of drinks)…. if you get $10 from half of your friends… you might be at $5000… don’t think that would work?  Check out what Zac Whyte did in less than 2 days with nothin but $100 and a few facebook posts, OR talk to my buddy, Dane Low, who raised around 17K for charity with facebook alone.

-put on a competition at a few elementary schools, give $2 to each student (this can be done by the staff), and teach them to be entrepreneurs by giving them ideas of how to turn it into $10 or more.  Then collect it back after a week, and see who did the best.  Kids love competitions, and teaching youngsters to be entrepreneurs in PARAMOUNT.  Actually it is my friend, Mike Tan’s, passion.  He has tons of amazing ideas on how to do something like this.  Hit him up if you want way better ideas than I can think of.

-hire a band or comedian with the $1000 at your church, your university, or other group you belong to and charge $20 a head PLUS shamelessly ask for donations at the end of it 🙂

-get bracelets made by for uber cheap that represent something amazing to you, and sell them for 5 times as much… as the proceeds will all be going to charity.

The possibilities are endless, and you are one little brain wave away from having a free trip to an epic destination.

Oh ya, and you and I will be carrying that idea of yours out too, which will be WAY more fun than you can imagine 🙂  I will send you the $1000, we will rock it together, and we will pick the charity that gets to receive your generous gift.

IDEAS TO BE SUBMITTED BY AUGUST 24th, 2010 at 11:59pm via email to  A video email would be super cool, but typed will be great too.

Let me know what ya think!


PS – as for judging the entries, I have 3 very intelligent and philanthropic friends of mine, Andrew Hewitt, Darren Olstad, and Dane Low who will check em over and determine whose idea is the best fit.  If there are a few ideas that are unreal, then all of them will win trips.  The more the merrier!!!  OR if your idea is truly stupendous and successful, and you want to go somewhere else, then we will open it up to you going anywhere in the world… that would be the best case scenario.  Africa anyone???

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This is the top prize for the upcoming “Just Give-Trip of a Lifetime Contest” (Top 5 winners to win this trip and go together).  Other prizes will include Tickets around the world, Courses, Books, Audio Books, T-shirts, Gift Certificates, and tons more 🙂  It’s going to be fun.

Trip to Kenya Itinerary

Day 1 Depart from North America

Day 2 Evening Arrival in Nairobi After collecting your luggage and clearing customs, meet your Me to We Trip facilitators at the arrival gate. Check in to Karen Blixen Coffee Garden Built in 1908, this house was the home of the coffee farm manager for the Blixen Coffee Plantation. The home has been fully restored to its original historic glory and now serves as a luxurious resort for guests. A full English breakfast is served in the resort’s lush gardens. *Depending on your arrival time, dinner or bar snacks are available on the premise. Not included.

Day 3 Visit the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage Join baby elephants and rhinos for their lunch at 11a.m. at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. This facility was established in 1977 in memory of David Sheldrick, the famous naturalist and founder of the Warden of Tsavo East National Park in Kenya. Visit the Kenya Giraffe Centre Created in 1979, the Giraffe Centre is a safe home for many of Kenya’s endangered Rothschild giraffes. Guests have the opportunity to observe, feed and even kiss the giraffes. Lunch at the Talisman Dine alfresco at a popular local haunt. A set menu has been arranged for you (with choice of main). Alcoholic drinks not included. Visit the Karen Blixen Museum Step back in time and visit the original home of Karen Blixen, the author of Out of Africa. The colonial house has been preserved as a museum and was presented as a gift to the Kenyan government at independence by the Danish government. Discover the Kazuri Beads Factory Kazuri Bead Shop is a local community empowerment program, employing over 300 economically challenged women and men. Learn and observe how their precious pieces of jewelry and art are made and end your tour with a visit to their private atelier and gallery. Dinner at Karen Blixen Coffee Garden (out of pocket)

Day 4 Depart from Wilson Airport Fly by private plane to the Masai Mara to Bogani airstrip. Arrive at Bogani Cottages Settle in to your new lodgings in Bogani’s rustic luxury cottages. Built of indigenous and renewable materials, the cottages and tents are a serene place to relax and reflect after each invigorating day of volunteering. Each room is complete with hot and cold running water, flush toilets, comfortable beds and is furnished with unique African fabrics and art. Lunch, Introduction and Orientation Get acquainted with Bogani, learning some Swahili along the way! Learn about Free The Children’s Adopt-A-Village Program Learn about Free The Children’s unique Adopt-A-Village (AAV) model. Free The Children developed the AAV model that relies on four key pillars to break the cycle of poverty and achieve long-term community development: 1. Quality primary education 2. Health care services 3. Alternative income projects 4. Safe/clean drinking water and sanitation systems Visit Enerelai Primary School Go on a guided tour of Free The Children’s school – Enerelai, seeing the difference between an old and new school. Dinner with Robin Wiszowaty Robin Wiszowaty is Free The Children’s Kenya Programs Director. She oversees the development and implementation of AAV in Kenya Free The Children project communities. In 2002, she spent a year in Kenya where she settled in a Maasai village (when Robin was renamed Naserian, which, in Maasai, means ‘peaceful person’) and adjusted to a daily life of fetching water, collecting firewood and communicating solely in Swahili. She has published a book about her experience, entitled “My Maasai Life.” Robin will share stories and her unique perspective on living in these two different worlds.

Day 5 Community Water Walk Join the Mamas at Emori Joi for a special walk through the community. Learn more about how the Kipsigis organize their homes and live. Fetch water with the Mamas, a task the women perform daily. The Mamas will return with us to Bogani to talk about gender and culture in Kenya. Lunch with Mamas Community Welcome Join community members in a welcome ceremony in their community School building 101 Roll up your sleeves and grab some tools to work along side Maasai/Kipsigi community members as you help to build a new school for the community.

Day 6 Tree Nursery and Duka Tour Visit some of Free The Children’s newest program initiatives. Tour the tree nursery with Mugo, one of our Community Mobilizers. The tree nursery is reputed to be one of the country’s largest, with 80,000 indigenous seedlings produced each year. Also visit the Duka, which offers beaded handicrafts by local women and is a part of Free The Children’s alternative income programming strategy. School building Continue working on your volunteer school building project.

Day 7 Mulot Market Visit an authentic African market and learn about the economic environment in which the community members live. School building Continue working on your volunteer school building project.

Day 8 Finish School Building and School Beautification Plant some trees in memory of your visit to Bogani and Free The Children. Your trees will be individually adopted by members of the community. Medicine Walk and Maasai Warrior Training Enjoy a leisurely hike as you learn about medicinal herbs from a local Maasai warrior. You will also have the chance to train in the art of Maasai weaponry as you enjoy a cup of chai on the hillside. Enjoy Nyama Choma dinner Relax and enjoy a traditional Nyama Choma – Kenya’s barbecue. Say Kwaheri to the community Wish your new friends in the community farewell and debrief about the experience with your facilitators.

Day 9 Depart from Bogani Cottages for Nairobi Fly back by plane to Wilson Airport. Market shopping Let us take you souvenir and curio shopping at the local market and then let you re-pack your luggage for the journey home. Rest at the Holiday Inn Nairobi Spend some time relaxing and repacking your luggage for your journey home. Feast at the Carnivore Enjoy a meal of virtually every kind of meat available in Kenya at the most famous Nyama Choma restaurant in Kenya. As long as the paper flag on your table is flying, the waiters will keep bringing you food, which is carved right at your table. The carnivore has been voted amongst the top 50 restaurants in the world, twice. Drive to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for your flight home Kwaherini na safari jemma!

Day 10 Arrive home in North America

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Trip of a Lifetime: Prize Ideas

HEY!  Do you know Dane Low from Vic ?  He and I are organizing a killer contest (based on raising cash for charities) and just need to find out what we should offer as the GRAND PRIZE for the 15 winners.  We have it narrowed down the potential prize to 5 juicers…

What we need from YOU: If you were one of the 15 winners… tell us which prize would you want to get????

1) Sun, Surf and Friends in Indonesia
You, me, and the 14 other winners fly to Indonesia together, stay in beach bungalows WAY away from the tourist areas.  We surf, fish, explore, tan, swim, scooter, and lap up life for 7 days and 7 nights.  You are MORE than welcome to stay longer if you want!  Your flight and accommodation for the week are all paid for.

2) Luxury in Spain

The 16 of us fly to the party capital of the world, Ibiza, and set up camp in our home away from home (which will look something like this) . We sun tan, explore the island, eat unreal food, and do a tiny tiny bit of partying at night…. and by “tiny tiny bit”, I mean that we party at the world’s best night clubs with the world’s best DJs.  Ibiza is world renowned for it’s parties, and the villas are second to none.  Your flight and the villa are paid for… how much you spend aside from that is up to you.

3) All-inclusive in gorgeous Mexico
You eat well, you drink lots, you party too much, and you get a brutal sunburn when you pass out by the pool all day (oh wait… that’s me).  This is a week of 16 awesome people getting pampered and living the life.  It can be relaxing or can be an assault on your liver.  All I know is that you can’t go wrong when all you need is a pink bracelet to get you anything you want 🙂

4) Volunteerism abroad
A week building schools, and creating epic memories through the Free The Children foundation.  This is the organization I visited in February (see my facebook album for wicked pics ), in Kenya, and it is UNBELIEVABLE.  The impact they have made is incredible, and their administration costs are stupendously low.  The airfare and accommodation would be on us, and other expenses would be minimal.  Such a cool way to spend a holiday.

5) Your custom trip
This is a trip all about YOU, and what YOU want to do.  We simply buy you an open ended ticket around the world and fill your pockets full of spending money.  That way, if you want to go to Thailand, lay on a beach, and read all day… you can.  If you want to go to Buenos Aires and tango your ass off… you can.  If you want to do some volunteer style stuff in Africa… you can… OR you can do all 3.  The departure and return dates are all up to you, so do what you want.  $1000 spending money included.

SO!  Which would (will) you choose???  Thanks in advance!!!!  We will put all info on the contest on this blog.  You can keep an eye on it by clicking to subscribe at the top of this page.

Is there a trip that you think would be a better prize???  We would love to hear it.  Comment below.


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Salsa Lesson – T Style

I was invited to a Salsa class last night, and was stoked!  It became very evident that the class had been practicing a little longer than my… never practicing.

Oh well, I think we made the best of it 🙂


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